NASA officially broke ground for the new Flight Dynamics Research Facility (FDRF) at its Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, on Wednesday. The 25,000-square-foot facility will house the first large wind tunnel to be built by the agency in more than 40 years. According to NASA, the wind tunnel will be used for research supporting areas such as entry, descent and landing for missions returning from the Moon and Mars, exploration of Venus and Titan, sustainable aviation, advanced air mobility and experimental aircraft.
“What we’re going to do with this facility is literally change the world,” said NASA Langley Research Center Director Clayton Turner. “The humble spirit of our researchers and this effort will allow us to reach for new heights, to reveal the unknown, for the betterment of humankind.”
The FDRF will be replacing four buildings at the NASA Langley Research Center including the 12-foot Low Speed tunnel, built in 1939, and the Vertical Spin Tunnel (VST), which has been used for research since 1941. NASA noted that the FDRF will have significantly improved capabilities, offering increased dynamic pressure, increased Reynolds numbers and less free-stream turbulence along with reduced maintenance and operating costs. Construction is scheduled to be completed by late 2024.